THE BEST OF FEDSMILL.COM—SO FAR

FEDSMILL.com just hit a milestone with its last posting. It was our 150th since we started last September.  To mark the occasion, we thought you might appreciate a quick review of our best or most popular postings among the 150.

Given that we started this site to help employees and local union officials, a lot of our postings dealt with grievances and particularly promotions.  We began with a two-part posting entitled “Grievance Drafting Tips,” which shared six tips about how to write a good grievance. But, we put most of our work with grievances into how to challenge promotion action decisions with postings such as the four-part “Grieving Non-Selection for Promotion,” “How to Grieve Promotion Interview Scores,” and the two-part “Waterboarding Selecting Officials.” Those half-dozen or more postings on promotions are unquestionably the most thorough and authoritative advice you will find anywhere for employees and union steward seeking to challenge management promotion decisions.

We are right in the middle of topping off our grievance handling work with the two-part posting entitled, “Are You Getting’ Enough–From Grievances.”  It lists the more than three dozen different remedies that FLRA has allowed arbitrators to impose.

We also spent a considerable amount of time making the point that EEO case law gives employees and union reps a lot of help when challenging a management action. Remember the pieces entitled, “Spotting Discrimination Violations and Grievances,” “FDIC Clobbered for Lacking Credibility,” and “Retaliation, Spouses and Cats?” Hopefully, they left the impression that unions should file discrimination charges through the grievance procedure, especially when combined with contract violations.  If you need more convincing, read  about the right of employees to keep private information about their medical conditions with pieces such as “Zip It! When Managers Violate Your Privacy” and their rights to religious practice accommodations with, “Church Lady Smits DOD.

In addition to our efforts involving grievances, we put a lot of energy into helping union leaders understand and exploit collective bargaining legal precedents.  The most helpful of those postings was “20+ Precedents Union Negotiators Must Know.”  A number of our postings about bargaining law were written as criticisms of the FLRA’s work to date. We think FLRA does not put enough emphasis on issuing decisions which are easy for practitioners to implement.  For example, read, “What Happens at FLRA Happy Hours” to get a better sense of how screwy the Authority’s particularized need precedent is. The postings entitled, “Dubester Criticizes the Covered-by Concept” and “Octomom and the Covered-by Concept” explained what a litigation trap that area of case law is. And we dissected the FLRA’s past practice concept to reveal the cause of most confusion about it with the posting, “FLRA FUBAR: The Past Practice Acquiescence Mess.”

Branching out into other FLRA legal precedents, we provided advice about how to get through another rat’s nest of case law with, “Formal Discussion Compromise” and how to make management regret issuing vague critical element performance standards with the posting entitled, “When is a PIP a ULP.” But perhaps our most important pieces in this area were entitled “16 Ways Probationers Can Appeal Terminations” and “FLRA FUBAR: Arbitrating Probationary Terminations.” Ideally, they will help unions make the argument that FLRA needs to change its current opposition to letting terminated probationary employees go to arbitration to enforce their many statutory and regulatory rights.

MSPB also was criticized for some nonsensical adverse action case precedent with our posting entitled, “FUBAR: MSPB’S Half-Pregnant Employee.” The Board has artificially created a quickie process for disciplining employees for falsification without management having to prove all the elements of falsification.

While most of our focus was a representational law and tips, FEDSMILL.com deeply believes that we cannot have strong unions unless our co-workers volunteer to help the union.  Consequently, we posted material like the following: “Ten Reasons to Be a Union Rep,”  “Five Union Rights You May Not Remember,” and “Excluding Union Reps From Choice Assignments” to bolster their confidence in their power and protections.

Finally, we tried to help you get more members with the following postings: “How Unions Get Members Promoted,” “What Union Reps Can Do That Employees Cannot,” and “Soliciting Membership on Duty Time.”

We sincerely hope that we helped with your union work and will keep our fingers crossed that you will stay with us through the next 150 postings.

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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